R. Kelly’s federal trial in Chicago began deliberations Tuesday after a month of evidence and arguments. The singer is accused of producing child pornography, enticing minors for sex, and rigging his 2008 child porn trial.
Kelly’s attorney made her closing argument a day after prosecutors. Jennifer Bonjean said key government witnesses were admitted liars who testified with immunity to avoid prosecution.
Bonjean compared their testimony and other evidence to a cockroach and the government’s case to cockroach soup.
You don’t just remove the cockroach and consume the rest of the soup “Bonjean said. “Too many cockroaches,” she said of the prosecution’s case.
Kelly, in a gray suit and black mask, gazed quietly at a defense table as Bonjean spoke. When a prosecutor spoke, he shook his head.
Kelly, 55, was sentenced to 30 years in jail in June for racketeering and sex trafficking. A couple of Kelly’s 13 charges might add years to his prison sentence.
After Bonjean’s conclusion, prosecutor Jeannice Appenteng reminded jurors of the victimized girls and women.
“In the jury room, assess the evidence in light of the defendant. Jane, Nia, Pauline, Tracy, and Brittany are Kelly’s victims, Appenteng claimed.
Four spoke. Not Brittany.
As Kelly’s celebrity grew in the mid-1990s, his staff and allies increasingly did what he wanted.
Bonjean urged jurors not to create an opinion of Kelly based on media coverage or prosecution arguments.
Prosecutors “use sex predator labels,” she claimed. “Labels and generalizations are meant to distract you from this man’s humanity.
She called Kelly a flawed genius with “functional illiteracy” since childhood and ill-equipped to handle his fame and money. She said childhood abuse affected him too.
Bonjean said other witnesses who testified with immunity in Chicago, Kelly’s hometown, lied.
They arrived to tell the government’s version of events “saying,
Lisa Van Allen, Kelly’s ex-girlfriend, stated she stole a sex tape from his gym bag in the early 2000s. Former Kelly merchandising agent Charles Freeman said that he requested for $1 million to surrender another damning footage. Both had immunity.
Prosecutor Elizabeth Pozolo told jurors that weeks of evidence indicated the artist sexually abused youngsters and filmed it. She called Kelly a predator.
Robert Kelly assaulted girls for years “Pozolo used the winner’s full name. “He committed horrendous crimes against children.” Robert Kelly’s secret side has emerged.”
Bonjean argued for a mistrial on Monday, saying closing remarks by Kelly co-defendants Derrel McDavid and Milton Brown assumed “the world knows Mr. Kelly is a sex predator.””
She said, “His presumption of innocence is gone.” Judge Harry Leinenweber declined.
Kelly sold millions of albums even after sexual misconduct charges surfaced in the 1990s. #MeToo and “Surviving R. Kelly” sparked widespread indignation.
Kelly and her former business manager are accused of intimidating and buying off witnesses to rig her 2008 child porn trial. They face child pornography accusations with Brown, a former Kelly associate.
Pozolo focused on the government’s main witness, “Jane,” who said Kelly sexually abused her hundreds of times starting at age 14.
“Pozolo: “He degraded her for twisted delight.”
She reminded jurors of disturbing video footage showing Kelly torturing Jane when she was 14 years old. Kelly’s 2008 trial video was shown. Jurors acquitted Kelly because Jane didn’t testify.
“Why?” Who films this with a 14-year-old? “saying, “He. Kelly, Robert.”
Pozolo alleged Kelly and his associates scrambled to recover missing sex films from a gym bag he carried.
She alleged Kelly colleagues did so to “cover up the fact that he’s a sexual predator.””
McDavid’s attorney said prosecutors must prove his client knew of Jane’s abuse by Kelly in the 2000s, not merely that he likely knew.
“Did they prove beyond a reasonable doubt he knew?” Brindley questioned. “No,”
Pozolo disputed that McDavid had no inclination in the 2000s that the abuse accusations might be credible after helping to find missing tapes and paying people to deliver videos that could harm Kelly.